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Walking down the halls of Southmoreland Elementary School on the evening of May 10, sounds of children’s chatter, the beats of drums, and guitars were heard. The line to get a balloon animal was stretched as far as the eye could see, and children’s faces were painted with various designs. This was all a part of the school’s annual Night of the Arts.
Southmoreland High School students were given the opportunity to have their own stations at this special night.
Art council students had a station where students made a color-changing chameleons. This was made with one paper plate painted with acrylic paint, one plate cut out in the shape of a chameleon, and a fastener to connect the two plates. When the bottom colored plate is spun, it looked like the chameleon was changing colors.
Southmoreland senior Kylie Mulnix loves volunteering, and she especially likes working with young kids. She helped with the art council station.
“I never had someone to look up to as a kid, so I really like being that person for somebody else,” Mulnix said. “I was able to job shadow Mrs. Gia Poska, the art teacher (at the elementary school), and she told me about this night. She told me if I’d like to have a table, she’d be happy if I was able to join, so I said yes and got some crafts prepared. I just really like the kids getting involved with art.”
Southmoreland sophomore CJ Medley agrees. He was also a part of the art council room.
“It’s pretty nice to give back to the community. I love volunteering, and I love trying to inspire younger generations,” Medley said. “I was inspired from a young age to start (doing) art from my sister (Taylor) who is five years older than me. It’s nice to help kids who are interested in art, but the don’t really know where to start.”
Southmoreland Elementary School music teacher and choral director Mrs. Meghan Whytsell said that students and parents were “actively engaged” throughout the night.
“Students and their parents were participating together in different artistic ways,” Mrs. Whytsell said. “They were having fun making music and art, and that was our goal.”
Southmoreland concert band and Tri-M honor society students were also able to have a station, where they made small pianos out of bobby pins, a small wooden board, and duct tape.
Tri-M junior member Melanie Gillott was able to help out at this station.
“It feels great to show kids what music can do, and we are inspiring them to get into music in the future,” Gillott said. “The little kids were fun to work with, I think they even made their crafts better than I did.”
Other events included an African drum circle, mini ukulele making, screen t-shirt printing, stained glass, an egg scramble, and paper making.
Mrs. Whytsell believes that this night was able to young students to get involved in the arts.
“I hope that (this night) encourages families to seek out similar activities in the community to enjoy together,” Mrs. Whytsell said. “If nothing else, hopefully the students gained a sense of appreciation for the arts or learned something new from this experience.”
She also believes that the arts are an important thing that children can have in their lives.
“I think the arts are very important to young people and all people for that matter. Taking part in the arts, in any form, encourages people to think creatively and express themselves,” Mrs. Whytsell said. “For young people, I think this is important because it may allow them to have an outlet to find out who they really are. They may even discover the arts is something they excel in even if they are not strong academically.”